Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update on Trees quilt

This quilt, an abstract of my vision of our winter landscape, was last seen months ago on the blog when it was only two blocks. Slowly, I added new blocks though I didn't really like what I had done. But finally, I designed this layout with the solid blocks of silk. The silk refuses to stick to the design wall, so it looks a little baggy here and there.

The photo shows the whole quilt - i.e., the bottom is not cut off. I have to decide on framing borders now. And figure out what I'm going to do for quilting. The quilting will really show on the solid silks, it will be nearly invisible on the pieced blocks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oval and Lace Cardigan

With this latest creation, I am now ahead of my knitting goal for the summer:

It fits me just the way I like - drapey, not tight anywhere.

The neckline is a little open for a dressier look than a t-shirt, though that's the general shape of it.

The lace and crossover cable pattern was definitely the most technically difficult I've ever worked in knitting. But I think it was worth the effort.

One more summery-cotton yarn to knit, then I'll be starting on long sleeved sweaters for cooler weather.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 26 - The half-way mark, Barbara Frietchie Star

This is a pretty star pattern, named after the legendary Union supporter of Frederick, Maryland.

I believe the cutting directions this morning were off but perhaps will have been corrected by the time my friends in the other hemisphere get to piecing this block. There are four medium colored triangles missing. But no matter -- I didn't follow the directions anyway. I decided to take out four seams and created flying geese instead of pairs of half-square triangles for the star points since I was using the same pink-roses-on-white fabric all the way around the outside. Four fewer seams still left a lot of fussy matching to get points lined up where they are supposed to be. I think pinwheels are my downfall!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Calico Puzzle - Week 25

This would be a straightforward block to make ... at 6 or 9 or 12 inches. I decided to follow BB's instructions for this nine-patch block. I think next time, I'll check for those 16ths of an inch. I didn't like that my half square triangle units were smaller than my squares.

I thought I had plenty of fabrics to pick from till I got to this block. Weary of using the large scale prints I had been working with, I looked around at my other fabrics for the floral to put in the center. The rich gold fabric was one I only had about a small bit of - the rest of it is in a quilt I gave Mom and Dad several years ago. I had been saving it for a time like this, when I was getting tired of picking from the rest of the choices. It's just a darker version of the golds I already had and I'll be able use it in a few more blocks to make it fit better.

At week 25, we can layout a square grid. Some of the quilters working on this have already started setting the blocks together. I'm going to want to consult with the recipients before I decide on the size for the finished quilt, so that's not an option for me until later this year.

These are shown in the order I made them, read as though you were reading a book. They won't go this way into the quilt. I'll be distributing the colors and the types of blocks -- there's a lot to work with: stars, pinwheels, center-focus, diagonal-focus... It's not going to look like a Civil War quilt with that much going on and such a wide variety of fabrics in my palette. The setting and border fabrics will have to work quietly and tie them all together.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ladies Aid Album - week 24

I liked the idea of making this a genuine nine patch, so I paper pieced this in three sections.

My background fabric appears gray - it's cream. My pink corners will look like I matched them up better if I repress the block now that all the paper has been removed. The block looks a little plain - maybe I should have followed the lead of using a busy print instead of my tone-on-tone. But I'm thinking this is going to be the rare block in this quilt that the quilting is going to be a feature on. And it definitely gives it the "Early Red Cross" appearance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eat Your Vegetables

Dorry's sister Kerry is one of the long-time members of the Round Robin group I make quilts with -- they had already been at this for years before I joined up. Kerry lives in New Zealand, and asked if I would quilt one of her previous Round Robin quilts. Putting a quilt into the international mail system is expensive and, well, scary, so Dorry carried the quilt back to Northern Virginia in her hand luggage, then Norris picked it up from Dorry when he was there for business.

Since Kerry will not see this quilt until some future, as yet unplanned, trans-Pacific crossing by a family member, I'm posting a lot of pictures for her to see what I did. But first, I have a photo of the full quilt for readers who have not previously seen what will be shown in parts. All photos can be enlarged for a closer look.

It took a double bed-sized batting and the layout of the quilt is a bit unusual, but isn't it glorious in color and energy?

Of all the vegetables, I was most happy with what quilting did for this ear of corn, adding a realistic dimension although the quilting lines between the kernels only go the length of the cob.

There were not many places for a quilter to add decorative elements of any complexity, but the two green borders that surround the center got bunches of carrots, radishes, and peppers, surrounded by tomatoes.

The border with the colorful medley of produce would normally have gotten a crosshatching or piano key treatment, but Kerry asked for Vegetables. A design with a chorus line of Chili Peppers has a similar effect.

I wasn't confident of my ability to quilt vines with peas in pods. They came out better than I thought, but are a little small to include in tonight's dinner -

Where I wasn't quilting vegetables and wanted background fill to bring out the intricate piecing, I chose swirls. It was these flying geese that made the choice for me - the swirls give them a little motion.

Jars of bugs and vegetables got a relaxed crosshatching, while the flowers and pieced ladybugs were simply outlined.

Larger pieced vegetables got lines of stitching to suggest roundness

The carrots, firmly planted in the ground, were surrounded by pebbles instead of swirls. You must notice the delightful striped fabric that makes those carrot tops!

The dark green borders that don't go all the way around the quilt got a treatment that made the quilter happy because it shows up well and but leaves the focus on the individual squares of vegetables. It takes more skill than the chili peppers, but it's worth it!

And with that, I believe we may all consider ourselves nourished within the FDA requirements for vegetables for the day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Civil War Week 23 - Illinois Roads

This must be the easiest block so far -

Having grown up where the car license plates read "Land of Lincoln," I never had any regard for Stephen A. Douglas who had defeated our hero in the Senatorial election of 1858. But I recently read Richard Carwardine's Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. His analysis of Douglas - in particular, his actions after Lincoln won the election in 1860, give reason to think differently about "the Little Giant." But I still chose the toile with Lincoln and the log cabin on it (though those don't appear in these four pieces) to pair with the stripe I had been waiting to use until the right block came along.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No discrimination

We thought it was quilts.... but this is what I found when I was going to take a break from the quilting machine today and finish a couple of rows on my latest sweater.

Yes, Diane - that's the knitting project bag with a black and white kitty cat nose to nose with Lu that you gave me untold years ago.